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December 22 , 2008

Surgeon with the Kaiser's Army


The Author gave up his medical studies at Freiburg University in 1914 to enlist in the German Army. He was soon involved in bloody hand-to-hand fighting against the French before moving to the Russian front.Promoted to medical officer, despite being unqualified and barely into his twenties he is given command of an ambulance train on the Western Front. He treats and operates on wounded of all nationalities and ranks and rescues British and German soldiers after gas attacks on the trenches of the Somme. As medical officer to the German Air Force (von Richthofen Circus) Westmann sees the dangers and effects of aerial combat at first hand. He witnesses the British tank attacks at Cambrai.His writing graphically illustrates life and death in the front line, the carnage and humour that sustained soldiers of all nationalities. Westmann's insights into the social, political, religious, economic and medical aspects of war time life are particularly revealing.The text is enhanced by contemporary photographs.

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